New York

26 September 2018

Deputy Secretary-General's Closing remarks at the Informal High-level Leaders Dialogue on Climate Change [as prepared for delivery]

This has been a very rich discussion. I thank you for your contributions and concrete suggestions on how to increase ambition and accelerate climate action. 

Your presence sends an enormously powerful signal that we are all together in our battle against climate change. All of you, without exception, reiterated commitment to implement the Paris Agreement.

Be assured that the Secretary-General and I deeply appreciate your leadership.  

I would like to reflect on the way forward.

The Secretary General reminded us that we need to do much more and do it much more quickly to achieve the Paris Agreement goals.  That means more ambition and more action.

All of you at this table have a unique power: you can effect transformation. This is what the world needs now.

This transformation will be an extraordinary opportunity to bring new leadership to our societies. Women, youth or indigenous people are demonstrating that they can implement real change: I urge you to further empower them to develop this potential. 

The President of Poland and the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC re-iterated the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement. Some of you have already hosted UNFCCC COPs.  You know how important is for the negotiators that they are guided by clear political leadership.

We need a successful outcome for COP24 and an agreement on the guidelines to make the Paris Agreement operational. 

We heard the sense of urgency, particularly from those of you in the most vulnerable parts of the world. 

Time is running out to keep global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees. 2020 may be our last opportunity to set the world on the path towards these goals.

We need to close the gap between national commitments and emission reductions. We need a clear pathway towards net-zero emissions by 2050. 

All this calls for a deep transformation of our economies. 

Our energy, industry, agriculture and infrastructure need to become low-carbon and climate-resilient.  This is particularly important for those countries that emit a significant percentage of global GHG emissions. 

In addition to reducing the emissions, we need to increase our ability to adapt. This is a key instrument of prevention and risk mitigation. We are working closely with some of you to improve how we can assist your efforts. 

The most vulnerable countries depend on your decisions. Next year’s Climate Summit needs to reflect your efforts.

Many of you have addressed the need to look at solutions to address climate change that are based on nature. We have to find a new way to shape our food systems, ensuring that they are not the drivers of deforestation, that we do not deplete our natural resources, including those of the oceans, and that we take care of our biodiversity. Tackling climate change can only work if it addresses and furthers the sustainable development goals.

To implement all these changes, we need adequate and predictable finance.  Showing that finance is flowing in the right direction at the speed and scale required is critical to drive up ambition for both climate action and sustainable development. 

I thank France and Jamaica for their leadership of an initiative towards fulfilling the 100 billion dollars a year pledge for climate action.

Finally, I need to reiterate that this is not only a national effort. This is a global effort that needs partnerships with sub-national authorities, businesses, the finance sector and civil society.

The swell of action that is happening at the city and regional level is fundamental in all the areas of transformation. 

We all need to push for more. I urge all of you to join the Secretary General’s call for leadership and action between now and the 2019 Climate Summit. 

The challenge is enormous, but so are our capabilities when we act together. I look forward to working with you towards the next stop on our roadmap – COP24 - and then onwards to September 2019 and beyond.